Harley Shows Off Its All-Electric Bike As It Fights Off $100 Million in EU Tariffs

Photo Credit: Alan Diaz/AP/Shutterstock
May 20, 2019

By Taylor Craig

Harley-Davidson is rolling out its much-anticipated, all-electric LiveWire motorcycle.

"This bike is one of the most exhilarating bikes I've ever ridden," Neil Grimmer, the company's brand president, told Cheddar on Monday. "We want to show that an electric motorcycle can be the best motorcycle [on] the planet and we demonstrated that with the LiveWire."

Harley-Davidson has spent about four years working on the LiveWire, which will be available in August with a starting price tag of $29,799.

The bike can go zero to 60 mph in three seconds, and when it accelerates, you won't hear the sputtering of a traditional muffler.

"This has this beautiful sound that is electronic in its nature," Grimmer said from the New York Stock Exchange. "But it has that hum and that roar of ... a jet engine."

While a typical Harley gets about 300 miles per tank of gasoline, the fully electric LiveWire lasts about 100 miles on a full charge.

"This thing is perfect for an urban condition, where you're plugging it in at night, and then you're back out on the road again," Grimmer added.

The bike's debut follows a year burdened by increased tariffs and ridicule from President Trump. Last year, Trump criticized Harley-Davidson's leadership for moving manufacturing jobs overseas, encouraging riders to boycott the company.

"Many Harley-Davidson owners plan to boycott the company if manufacturing moves overseas," President Trump tweeted in August of 2018. "Great! Most other companies are coming in our direction, including Harley competitors. A really bad move! U.S. will soon have a level playing field, or better."

Grimmer defended the company's manufacturing processes in the U.S. and the quality of Harley bikes built around the world.

"All motorcycles made in the United States are produced in the United States in full … Every one of our manufacturing facilities around the world exports our quality and manufacturing prowess," he said. "When you buy a Harley, you're buying a Harley through-and-through."

Retaliatory tariffs from the European Union on motorcycles have cost the company about $100 million year-over-year, according to Grimmer. Despite the difficult times, leaders at Harley-Davidson are intent on riding out the storm.

"This brand has lived through two world wars, two major depressions, and this brand will live on," Grimmer said.

For full interview click here.